Visa for Alaska: Travel Requirements & Application

Visiting Alaska From Abroad: What You Need to Know

In this article

Alaska is a state in the US located on the North American continent. It became a member of the United States on January 3, 1959, after being bought from Russia by the US government. Alaska shares boundaries with the Arctic Ocean and the Beaufort Sea in the North, Yukon, Columbia in the East, and the Bering Sea and the Bering Strait in the West. Its Northwestern region is bordered by the Chukchi Sea, the Pacific, and the Gulf of Alaska to the South.
Alaska is the US's largest state by area. It has 1,717,856 square kilometers, with 86.3% being land and the remaining 13.7% being water. In 2020, Alaska had a population of 736,081, making it the most sparsely populated territory in the US. It has a population density of 0.49 persons per square kilometer.
Alaska is a beautiful place to visit and offers a great variety of activities. Visitors travel from all parts of the world to enjoy Alaska. In 2019, Alaska had 2.26 million visitors, and the numbers were expected to rise before Covid struck. Alaska being a US territory means the US immigration law also applies here. Citizens of some countries must provide a visa, while others do not. Citizens of countries that do not need a visa will need authorization from ESTA before entering Alaska.
ESTA means Electronic System for Travel Authorization and is available for citizens of 40 select countries with a visa-free entry agreement with the US. It was introduced by the US Department of Homeland Security and is valid for two years. Holders of the visa-waiver can travel into the US for a maximum of 90 days, allowing for multiple entries.

Do I Need a Visa for Alaska from the UK?

Most visitors from the UK to Alaska do not need a visa because it is eligible for the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Visitors eligible for the visa waiver need not provide a visa, provided they plan to stay in the US for less than 90 days. Only British citizens of the UK are permitted to enter Alaska and the rest of the US without a visa.
ESTA was introduced by the Department of Homeland Security of the United States as a means of security to screen visitors entering the US under the Visa Waiver Program. It permits citizens of 40 countries to enter the US without a visa, and the UK is one of them. Citizens of the UK that are eligible for the Visa Waiver Program must provide an ESTA before entering Alaska.
The application process for the ESTA visa waiver is fully online and it takes only about 20 minutes. It is valid for two years, provided you follow the requirements strictly. The VWP is best suited for tourism and short business purposes that would not exceed 90 days. It allows its holders access to the US for a maximum of 90 days per visit and multiple visits during the visa's validity period.
For trips that would last longer than 90 days in the US, UK citizens are expected to come with a visa. There are different visa types, depending on your reasons for visiting and the time you plan to spend. The main visa types fall into four categories:
When entering Alaska and the US in general, you either enter with a visa or under a Visa Waiver Program.

What Are the Requirements?

It has been established that entering the US can only be done with a travel visa or under a Visa Waiver Program and they both have different requirements. Applicants of the two entry routes are different, and an applicant should know where they fall in when applying to enter the US.

Requirements for ESTA

UK citizens must complete the ESTA form application online when they apply for ESTA. The application process is straightforward and will only take you about 20 minutes. UK citizens, when applying for the ESTA visa waiver, are required to provide the following documents:
  • A functional email address
  • Basic personal information
  • Valid British passport
  • A bank card to pay the visa fee
Questions relating to health and security may also be asked during the registration process. After filling out your details online, you must pay the processing fee, then wait to be approved before travelling to Alaska.

Requirements for a US Visa

When traveling from the UK to the US, you only need a visa when you plan on staying in the US for more than 90 days. Requirements differ based on the category of visa you are applying to get. Here are some of the general requirements for obtaining a US visa.
  • An official visa application form.
  • A valid international passport.
  • One passport photograph measuring 5.1 x 5.1 cm in dimension. It should not be older than six months, must be in color, on a white background, and without any shadows.
  • A proof that you have paid the visa application fee.
  • Social media details, including your social media history for the last five years. Email address, phone number, and all social media accounts you have.
  • Previous visas to the US, if that applies to you.
  • A travel itinerary that shows your entry and exit dates with flight numbers.
Apart from UK citizens who plan on staying in the US for more than 90 days, here are some of the other categories of people who need a visa before entering the US:
  • Those with a criminal record
  • Those who have been arrested in times past; either it led to a criminal conviction or not
  • People who have been denied entry to the US in times past
  • Applicants who have been deported in the past for one reason or the other
  • People who have overstayed their ESTA allowance in the past
People who fall into these categories should apply for a visa directly instead of an ESTA, even though they are citizens of the UK.

How Long Does the Visa Application Take?

The time required for the visa application varies. It takes between three and five weeks to get your visa. Applying for a visa can be a lengthy process, and it helps to start the preparation before time.

Work Visa for Alaska

A work visa is a visa category for an extended stay in the US. It can be an immigrant visa or a non-immigrant visa. Immigrant visas can make you a citizen of the US in the long run, while a non-immigrant visa cannot make you become a citizen. You have to prove that you are employed in Alaska (the US) and qualified for the job. Your employer can only start work visas in Alaska in the US.
Applying for a work visa has more requirements than a tourist visa or other types. Here are the documents required for a work visa, in addition to those stated above.
  • Certifications and diplomas to prove that you meet the qualifications
  • A professional degree such as a Doctorate, Master or Bachelor's degree.
  • Job offer letter from your employer in the US
  • Your resume or CV
  • A proof of your extra abilities
  • Recommendation letters from your previous employers
  • If applicable, a recognized license
  • Additional fees
Obtaining a work visa for Alaska may be more challenging because the government wants the jobs and benefits to circulate among its citizens rather than foreigners.

General Tips to Note

There are general tips to enjoy your trip when traveling to Alaska from the UK. Taking these tips can keep you safe and give you the best experience Alaska offers.
  • Paperwork and immigration: On arrival in Alaska, get your paperwork handy and approach the immigration inspectors for inspection. The immigration officers will take a picture of you, record your fingerprints and stamp your passport. While at that, they may ask questions regarding your purpose of visit and the duration you plan on staying. When you are ascertained to pose no threat, the officials will return your documents, and you can head on to baggage claim.
  • Baggage claim and customs: After your passport is stamped, claim your baggage and head to customs officers, who will check your luggage for harmful and prohibited substances. If you are all clear, you can head for the exit and into Alaska.
  • Money: Before traveling, confirm if your card will work in the US with your bank. Also, verify the charges that apply for using credit cards abroad. It helps to always have cash on you for small purchases and stores that do not accept cards.
  • Insurance: Healthcare in the US is top-rated and can be very expensive if you are not covered by health insurance. Confirm with your insurance vendor if it covers you abroad. If it does not, you will need to invest in international travel medical insurance. People on prescription medications should bring enough medications to cover the trip. The brand and specific compositions of the one you take may not be readily available when you travel.
Alaska is a beautiful place to visit from the US. Ensure you check all the boxes before making your journey to Alaska to avoid issues arising from incomplete documents and other related matters.

Written by Abisola Fikayomi

Abisola is an accomplished writer interested in US Travel, immigration, passports and visas. She’s passionate about exploring new places and cultures and willing to share her experiences, expertize and findings with others. That is her primary drive for specialising in this industry.



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